Mental Models in Biology

The laws of biology apply to all living things, from single-celled living things such as yeast to multi-cellular organisms such as human beings. Some of the key models in biology include: 


To survive in their environments species of animals and plants must either adapt or die. Natural selection eliminates the weaker species in an ecosystem and allows the stronger ones to survive and breed. This natural process effectively ensures that future generations carry the best genes from the available gene pool. 

The capacity to evolve and adapt to different circumstances and environments is an important element in human existence. Adaptability is a key element for success and growth since change is an inevitable part of life and our ability to cope with it will ultimately impact on personal development. 


Replication is the basic law of biology that ensures the continued existence of a species through multiplications. Replication is the natural process through which old generations create new generations and in effect ensure the continuity of life. Without replication or multiplication species would cease to exist. 


The natural instinct to self-protect is present in all life forms. Animals develop defense mechanisms to help them survive adversity and protect themselves from predators. The self-preservation instinct is also present in humans. Our instinct for self-preservation affects our thoughts, behaviour, and relationships with others. 


Evolution is one of the principal laws of biology. Mutations, gene selection, and natural selection ensure that species change over time to cope with their changing environments and habitats. Survival in nature typically favours those that are best equipped for the current circumstances in their ecosystem. 

Evolution occurs through natural selection processes such as gene mutations. 


A wide variety of species have been observed to hibernate seasonally. When conditions are hard or unfavourable some species will go into a state of physical inactivity and resume activity when the season suits them. The main purpose of hibernation is to preserve mental and physical energy while avoiding unnecessary exposure to adverse conditions. 


Competition is a common phenomenon in all species. Natural resources are limited so there is an ever-present fight for the few available resources. Survival creates competition for food, water, and habitats. The strongest usually survive because they can get enough resources to sustain their existence. The human race is also subject to this law of biology. In a race of limited resources and opportunities, we exist in a constant state of competition amongst ourselves and also with the other living things that we share the planet with.  


An incentive is the expected reward that comes after the completion of a particular task. All living beings including humans and animals are naturally incentive-driven. Predators hunt because they know they will get food at the end of the chase. Equally, we work hard to get rewards in terms of money, power or social status. Incentives work as a motivating force and as a justification for effort. Without incentives, it is hard to generate the necessary drive and motivation required to accomplish tasks. 


No one species in nature exists in isolation. Interdependencies and relationships are a natural element of an ecosystem. Cooperation is bred by the need to survive and exist in harmony with each other. The interdependence of species is crucial for harmonious existence. Humans also need each other to survive and make the best of their living situations. Cooperation and competition co-exist in nature and both are necessary for species to survive and thrive. 

Social organization 

Social organization is a natural instinct evident in various animals across species. Groups of lions, elephants, apes and many other animals exist in structured societies that have leaders. This hierarchical organization of members within a group creates order in their societies and creates well-defined roles for each member of the group. Leaders of packs are expected to provide guidance, resolve conflict and provide protection for the other group members. Humans are not exempt from this law. 


Ecosystems are comprised of groups of different life forms co-existing together in the same habitat. Habitats typically host different organisms that exist either in competition or cooperation with each other. Co-existing in these ecosystems are living organisms ranging from the top of the food chain to the bottom of the food chain. Without these ecosystems, a lion would not be able to find food because they would not have prey as part of their habitat. 


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